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US: At least eight people die in ‘destructive’ flooding in Kentucky – Science et Avenir

At least eight people have died as heavy rains caused severe flooding Thursday in the eastern US state of Kentucky, its governor said, who fears a further increase in the balance sheet.

“This will be the worst flood in recent history, devastating and deadly,” Gov. Andy Beshear said as the number of missing people is unknown and heavy rain is expected on Friday.

“At the moment, I believe I can confirm at least eight deaths, but this figure seems to be increasing by the hour,” he added. He says he expects the total death toll to be “in double digits”.

In the Jackson area, some roads have turned into rivers, and abandoned cars stand here and there. At the bottom of these small valleys, surrounded by forests, on Thursday the land was flooded with light brown muddy water, from which only roofs of buildings and trees stuck out in some places.

Under these conditions, many residents took refuge on the roofs of their houses, waiting for rescue. “Between 20 and 30” were evacuated by air, Mr. Beshear said late Thursday on local television.

Due to human-induced global warming, there is more water vapor in the atmosphere, which increases the likelihood of heavy rainfall, scientists say. These rains, combined with other factors related to land management in particular, contribute to flooding.

Parts of Kentucky received about 20 centimeters of rain in 24 hours, and significant additional precipitation is expected through Friday evening, and a flood warning remains.

The Democratic governor has declared a state of emergency in several counties, and four National Guard helicopters, as well as rigid inflatable boats, have been deployed to assist in relief operations.

– Boat evacuation –

Near Jackson, rescuers evacuated residents wearing life jackets in a small boat from an area where the Kentucky River had largely overflowed its banks, flooding many homes with several feet of water.

A little further on, the couple tried to salvage what they could from their flooded home by stuffing furniture into their large pickup truck.

The number of missing people is unknown because “we still can’t get to some places” due to the strong current, the governor said.

“Many people need help,” the governor said earlier. “And we’re doing our best to reach each and every one of them.”

But “the situation is complicated,” he admitted. “Hundreds of people will lose their homes and this will be a new development that will take not months but probably years for families to recover and recover.”

About 25,000 people in the state were left without electricity on Thursday, some without running water, he said.

President Joe Biden has been briefed on the situation, his spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said. The head of the United States Disaster Management Agency (FEMA), Dina Criswell, is due to go there on Friday.

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